Friday, December 19, 2014

Weekly Update and Reading Comprehension

When we return from vacation I will begin adding a new component to homework. Each Monday I’ll send home a reading comprehension passage along with questions to be answered. It will be due at the end of the week. There is a certain process that I’ve taught the students, and we continually use for answering comprehension questions. Students will be asked to use this process at home, so I want to be sure to share it with you.

Here’s how we approach reading comprehension questions:

  1. Read the passage
  2. Read all the questions
  3. Reread the passage, keeping the questions in your head.
  4. Do question one, looking back at the passage to be sure it’s the right answer.
  5. Underline the answer in the passage.
  6. Write the paragraph number where you found the answer next to the question.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for each question.

Since we only have one full day and one early release day next week, this will be the last newsletter until we return from vacation. December math fact tests will be done on Monday and scores will go home after vacation. Please have your child keep reading during vacation, and keep studying their math facts. Most of all though, I hope your child is able to experience the magic of being a child at this time of year!

Here's what we'll be learning the week of January 5th:
  • Reader’s Workshop: Main idea and supporting details
  • Writer’s Workshop: Information research and writing
  • Spelling: Unit 15 - Words home on Monday, test on Friday 
  • Math: Topic 7, Division
  • Science: Habitats
Please remember that my door is always open if you have any questions or concerns. Together we are partners in your child’s education! 

Hour of Code

Last week, during Computer Science Education Week, our class participated in the Hour of Code. It’s a global project, with millions of participants!  We spent an hour on Tuesday and an hour on Friday learning how to do some very basic computer coding. Students had to use logical thinking and solve problems to get characters to move in certain directions or follow certain paths. Your child can still access the activities: Angry Birds and Anna/Elsa.

You can see pictures from our time coding on our class Twitter page.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Changing Our Words, Changing Our Mindset

The words we use each day, both positive and negative, can really affect the way we view ourselves as learners, and the way we approach our learning. Recently I shared some negative phrases we might say, and asked the children to brainstorm some positive things we could say instead. (Credit for this idea really goes to a picture I saw on Pinterest.) 

On Friday I gave each child one of the positive statements on a sticky note, and asked them to illustrate it. We sat in a big circle on the rug to do this, myself included, sharing crayons, markers, and colored pencils. It turned into a really nice, relaxing time for the class, with great impromptu discussions about times we could have really used some of these statements, as well as other positive statements we could also say.

Here we are working on our posters:

Here are the finished products on our Great Work bulletin board:

Math Facts Achievement Luncheon

Congratulations on your achievement with addition and subtraction math facts!

Nov. Math Madness

Congratulations for completing your November Monthly Math Madness!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Weekly Update

Today your child is bringing home their report card. We discussed how they are graded, and what they are graded on, but I did not let them look at their report card. I’d like them to look at it with you. Your child also filled out a blank report card in class today. It’s their view of how they think they are doing. They’ll use it to set two goals for themselves for the next trimester. I’ll share their self-evaluation report card with you at their conference, as well as their goal.

Do you know about the website,  It’s free and has fabulous games for students to practice their multiplication facts. Now that we are well into our study of multiplication, your child should be including multiplication into his/her fact practice at home. As a reminder, we only go up to the 10’s in third grade, although I go ahead and teach them the 11’s, and strategies for the 12’s. Also, as you may have discovered, the math program we use does not teach the facts in sequence. Unit 5 covered 0, 1, 2, 5, 9, and 10. Unit 6, which we just started, will cover the rest. After that, we move on to division!  

One of the things that I do on an almost daily basis is place extra copies of worksheets and papers in our "extra copies" box. This way there's always an extra copy in case something gets lost. At the end of each trimester I let the children who like to play school take home any of these papers. So, if you see a lot of blank papers come home next week don't think it's work your child needs to catch up on, it's just for fun.  :)

On Friday (Dec. 12) we’ll celebrate the hard work and tremendous learning that’s gone on so far this year with with PJ Day, popcorn, and a movie! On that day your child may wear school-appropriate pajamas, and even bring their favorite socks/slippers to wear in the classroom. One stuffed animal friend is also welcome for the day!

Here's what we'll be learning about next week:
Reader’s Workshop: Main idea and supporting details
Writer’s Workshop: Information research and writing
Spelling: Unit 13 - Words home on Monday, test on Friday 
Math: Topic 6, Multiplication

Please remember that my door is always open if you have any questions or concerns. Together we are partners in your child’s education! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Northeast Woodland Native American Villages Presentations

The Educreations presentations on Northeast Woodland Native American Villages are finally finished! They are published on the student blogs. Drop by your child's blog and check out their group's presentation. Be sure to leave them a comment!